Major Arcana

What is the Major Arcana in Tarot? They’re the cards that represent major events and archetypes in our lives. Read on to find out more.

Tarot Cards

The Major Arcana cards are the heart of a tarot deck. It’s made up of 22 cards. The Major Arcana is not associated with suits or court cards like the rest of the Tarot Deck, but instead, the Major Arcana are represented by Archetypes in psychology as well as life and its cycles from birth to death. It symbolizes the physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional aspects of society and our relationships to ourselves and to each other. 

For the archetypes, there is a nurturing mother, a commanding authoritative type, a traditional religious figure, a mystic spiritual figure and so on. These archetypes represent either literal or figurative people in our lives. 

The artwork on a Major Arcana cards has scenes that have symbolic elements. There is so much symbolism! Within all of that symbolism, you find different meanings. This is what I love so much about Tarot. You can pick up on certain symbols for certain questions – this is where intuition comes in! You can’t just rattle of memorized keywords and have a deeply resonating reading. 

The Major Arcana relates to our interactions with ourselves and others, but also our position in the universe and our higher purpose for being on the planet. It tells of our journeys in life especially in relation to personal development. 

The Fool’s Journey

Now, the Major Arcana can be read and learned as a story. NO MEMORIZATION (Yayyyy) 

The numbers on the card from 0 to 22 depict the fool’s journey from birth to death, and from innocence to wisdom and ultimately enlightenment. Although personally, I see the “Enlightenment” idea as acceptance. Peace after all you’ve been through and all you’ve learned. The Major Arcana shows the journey we have to take to reach that acceptance (or enlightenment) in our lifetime.

Go read about The Fool’s Journey here and then go through your cards and see how the story is told based on your intuition and your cards. 

Overall, the Major Arcana represents several aspects of the human experience that we all experience in our lives. It shows us our spiritual selves, our hopes, our fears, our joys and sadness. And then it gives us guidance about what actions to take or what we need to accept or let go of in order to move on. Ultimately though, it only tells us what we already know. It shows us what we need to hear, but we’ve been hiding from ourselves. It’s a little bit of magic, and a lot of psychology.

What’s your favorite Major Arcana card? The one that makes you the most uncomfortable?

Mine is the Devil… for both.

The Tarot Decks that Survived the Big Purge

I had a nice little collection of Tarot Decks… but I donated, sold, and tossed everything I owned and moved to Paris. So, I had to whittle down my collection. Here are the Tarot Decks that survived.

Light Seer’s Tarot – This has been my favorite deck of all time. This is the deck that really got me into reading Tarot and reading regularly. My learning had stalled and then I started using this deck and bam! I become an intuitive reader.

  • What I like:
    • I love how positive the guidebook is. It really shaped me as a reader and how I always find the positive in every card or situation.
    • The artwork is beautiful. I resonate with these cards so much!
    • It’s so easy to read intuitively.
  • What I don’t like:
    • Sometimes the art only shows one of the meanings or symbols of the traditions Rider-Waite-Smith cards, so I have to explain while reading, “This card shows this, but it also means this in the traditional RWS decks.” The Ten of Swords is a good example. The art shows a woman walking into a sunset rather than the traditional ten swords stabbed in someones back. Two very different messages.
    • The card stock is shit. It’s not cut evenly, it’s not smooth… it’s a mess. Maybe this has been fixed because I bought this deck years ago… but it’s still my most used deck.
  • Who is this deck for?
    • This deck is for both beginners and seasoned readers.

The Dark Mansion Tarot – This is a gorgeous deck from Poland. I can’t remember where I first saw it… but I was drooling over it for months. It’s my most expensive deck, and I have no regrets.

  • What I like:
    • The artwork! It’s kind of like a Tim Burton style. The colors are so crisp and beautiful. I even love the backs of the cards.
    • There are a few cards with a slightly different interpretation than usual. Like the Sun card has two kids looking at a poster of the Sun… It’s as if the Sun doesn’t exist anymore? Like… post-happiness? And the Judgement card has skeletons dancing. I just love their interpretation!
  • What I don’t like:
    • The matte cards are hard to shuffle. It could just be that I’m afraid to use them but… still, they’re hard to shuffle.
    • On the flip side of the things I like, I don’t resonate with every interpretation, but there are just a few.
  • Who is this deck for?
    • Experienced Readers and Deck Collectors.
    • I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners just because of the price point ($59 plus shipping), but if you really love fall in love with Tarot cards, for your second deck.

Golden Art Nouveau Tarot

  • What I like:
    • It’s so pretty! The “Golden” does not disappoint. It’s so shiny. I also love the artwork. I love the Art Nouveau style even more since moving to Paris and spending every possible moment in Pere Lachaise (Art Nouveau all around!)
    • It’s a RWS clone, so it’s easy to read.
  • What I don’t like:
    • If I have to pick something, it’s just a flimsy tuck box and a tiny little white book.
  • Who is this deck for?
    • Beginners or experienced Tarot Readers. Since it’s based on the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith deck it’s good for anyone interested in Tarot.

What’s your favorite Tarot deck? Let me know below!

Tarot Rituals: Things to do with your cards for accurate readings

Everyone has their own way of working with their cards and there’s no wrong or right way to use your cards, just do what feels right to you.

But, here are some ideas of things you can do with your cards to help you get a more accurate reading or just connect better with your cards.

Comment below to tell me about what you do to connect with your cards.

Cleansing: Some ways to cleanse your deck before use or when you buy a brand new deck:

  • Smoke Cleanse – Focus on cleansing your cards with incense.
  • Fire Cleanse – Hold your deck near a candle while focusing on cleansing the deck. (Make sure to use fire safety and common sense. Don’t burn yourself or your cards.)
  • Air Cleanse – Some people will blow on their cards to cleanse and remove old energy from the deck.
  • Knocking – You can knock on your deck to either wake it up or shake out the old energy. You can use a number of knocks that works for you.

Charging: Charging is like infusing and bringing a certain energy into your cards. Some ways to do this:

  • Moon: You can put your cards in your window where it can see the moon on a full moon to charge it with the energy of the full moon.
  • Crystals: You can place a crystal on your cards to charge it with the energy of the crystal of your choice. For example, Amethyst for a deeper connection to your intuition.

Meditation / Grounding: For me, this is the most important.

  • You can simply take a few minutes to meditate before working with your cards.
  • My favorite mediation is from Mat Auryn’s book Psychic Witch. I usually find meditation boring and difficult, but this one is very visual and grounding and works for me. I visualize roots going down from me to the core of the earth, then bringing up white energy from the core of the earth back through me, then visualize connecting beyond earth and to the stars and connecting this energy back to me and the earth’s energy. I take a few minutes to do this, and then I am connected, grounded and ready. I find that I get super accurate readings when I do this before reading.

Music: Personally, I love binaural beats for helping me to focus. I use it more often when typing out a tarot reading than making a video though. Something like this on youtube.

Respect: There are two really important ways to show respect to your deck.

  • During reading – In my opinion, it’s disrespectful to your deck to not trust it. You show your deck that you don’t trust it by putting cards back into the deck after you’ve pulled one – basically saying you don’t like the card or you don’t want to hear the truth. So, as long as you’re connected to your deck, always trust the cards that your deck is giving you.
  • After reading – Show respect to your deck by thanking it for giving you clarity or honesty, or whatever you want to thank it for. Give your cards gratitude for helping you.

What Rituals do you have with your Tarot Cards? Do you do anything different? Comment below and share your ideas.

Number Patterns

This applies to the minor arcana, not the major arcana. Each suit goes through a journey, and there are some patterns in the journey among the suits. For example, when you see a 5 – you know that it represents conflict. So, if you have a 5 of Swords, you know it’s a conflict with thoughts, or communication. This number patterns strategy is great jumping off point in your tarot learning journey. Rather than memorizing 40 different card meanings, you can learn the number pattern and apply it generally across the Four Suits. The suits mostly follow this pattern, although the Swords is a slightly different story.

Learning Tarot through Associations – The Devil – Hotel California

Musical Tarot Associations

Rider-Waite Smith

The Devil. Scary Card right? Well… yes. Let’s get into it.

What is the Devil card about?

Earthly pleasures at best, and addiction at worst. The Devil card is about bad habits, addictions, and feeling like we’re trapped or being trapped by our addictions and bad habits. So, yes, you can get out, but it may take a lot of will and even outside help.

One of those addictions may be substance, materialism, obsession with someone or something, or just every day self-sabotage.

Let’s talk about “The Devil” (Baphomet in this card) another day. Today we’ll focus on the couple in the card. The woman has the grapes on her tail and the man has the fire on his tail – representing materialism and power. They have loose chains around their necks, so they’re free to go, sure, but the longer they stay, the harder it is to leave.

This brings us to my musical association of this card – Hotel California by the Eagles, released in 1977.

Why do I associated Hotel California with the Devil card?

“You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.” This lyric is the best example of the card. Like the Devil in the card, the Night man in the song says that you can leave, but can you really?

Let’s go through the song

The song starts out as the main character is driving through the desert with the “Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air.” Apparently, colitas is a term for weed – which links us to addiction. Then the character stops at the Hotel California because he’s tired. He meets the woman of the story, and shows her vices of materialism, and hedonism.

And finally, we have this part of the song the cements the idea of the Devil and the association of the card for me. Between the “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device,” (those loose chains), and the people trying to kill the “beast” with their steely knives.

Anyway, what do you think? What song do you associate with the Devil card? Do you have other interpretations?

You can find a Youtube playlist with all of my Musical Tarot Associations here